May 18, 2010 – Federalist No. 15 – Cathy Gillespie

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Have you been watching Janine’s Behind the Scenes Videos? They are fantastic! Last night Juliette Turner, Constituting America Youth Director, talked about the We The People 9.17 Contest, and how important it is that young people understand the Constitution and founding principles of our country!  Check out these fun, short videos – where else can you see pets reading the Federalist Papers, or meet Longhorns with names like Revolution or America’s Pride?  You’ll see some beautiful Texas landscapes, and if you click on the right one, you’ll even get to hear Janine sing the Star Spangled Banner!

Thank you to Professor Allison Hayward of George Mason University!  Your thorough explanation, and tie-in to Europe’s present day troubles, made Federalist No. 15 come alive!  Thank you also to all who posted today.  If you are reading, and haven’t written your comments in our blog, please join the conversation! We need your voice and view!

I echo Professor Hayward’s observation that Hamilton’s Federalist No. 15 is a bit of a downer after Madison’s optimistic essay yesterday.  Madison’s Federalist No. 14 made my heart swell with pride to be a citizen of the United States of America.   Federalist No. 15 reminds us that our country soared to greatness, strength and respect from humble beginnings. In 1788 the prospect of failure was very real.  Hamilton does a brilliant job describing the environment, and paints a bleak picture, “the last stage of national humiliation”:  lack of respect in the world, debt, no troops, declining commerce and land values, lack of private credit –  the list goes on and on.  The country was at a low point.

But out of this low point, rose our great Nation – rebuilt upon the framework of the United States Constitution.  In fact, if all had been going well in the late 1780′s, the beautiful, unique, perfectly balanced republic that emerged might never have been born.

That is the lesson I take from Federalist No. 15. And one I have learned from Constituting America’s co-chair and my good friend, Janine Turner, who is an inspiration to me.  Janine often speaks about how tough times etch our character and shape us into who God wants us to be.  The tough times in Hamilton’s day produced the United States Constitution.

Our country is again going through tough times.   Hamilton’s words throughout Federalist No. 15 could easily be describing our present day circumstances. But look what these tough times have already wrought:  a renewed passion and engagement of the citizens of the United States!    There is an energy and thirst for knowledge taking hold across the country that I have not felt before in the 25 years in which I have been involved in politics.

Where will this lead? What lies ahead?  When we Americans join together, with our spirit of enterprise, ingenuity and passion, only good things will result. We are once again on the “precipice” Alexander Hamilton speaks of, but I predict we will not plunge into the abyss.  Instead, we will emerge stronger, fortified, with a renewed, patriot’s zeal and commitment to our country’s founding principles.

I look forward to the readings that lie ahead, sharing with you and others, and putting what I am learning to use!

Good night and God bless!

Cathy Gillespie

 

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